Scooter Libby was found guilty of lying about his role in the leak of an undercover CIA officer's name. As a friend of mine likes to say, it is the cover-up rather than the crime that always ends up getting people in trouble. The response from the Vice President's office appears to be that it is too bad and the jury was wrong. Mind you, Scooter had the best counsel money can buy and the jurors seemed to have little doubt of his guilt despite their sympathy for him. Indeed, they seemed to believe, like much of the nation, that Karl Rove and the Vice President were behind the leak of Valerie Plame's name to the media.
One can only imagine what the Vice President's response to a conviction in a Democratic Administration about leaking the name of a spy to the press would have been. My guess is that something about costing lives, undermining American national security, and aiding terrorists would have been mentioned instead of sympathy for the leaker. Of course, Cheney's support for Scooter may rest not on just loyalty but on fear of what Scooter could tell prosecutors about the Vice President's role in leaking Plame's name and then covering up the leak.
Scooter's conviction is perhaps a good time to remember that this is the Administration that inveighed against pardons at the end of the Clinton Administration. Democrats should demand insistently that no pardon be given to Scooter. At this point, a pardon would be an extension of the cover-up and a clear effort to protect the Vice President, Karl Rove, and other advisers to the Administration from further scrutiny. Of course, it would also be a natural extension of the imperial presidency in which Bush can do no wrong and anything is justified to further the Administration's interests.
Indeed, Fitzgerald's investigation would seemingly turn next to the Vice President based on what he said in his winning closing argument:
"There is a cloud over what the vice president did," Fitzgerald told jurors in the prosecution's closing arguments. "That's not something we put there. That cloud is not something you can pretend is not there."A very bad day for the Bush-Cheney Administration.
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"This is not a case about bad memory," Fitzgerald told the jury during opening statements last month ".
It was important. . . . He made time to deal with the Wilson matter day after day after day."Fitzgerald and fellow prosecutors showed notes hand-written by Cheney and Libby indicating that the vice president was deeply disturbed by Wilson's explosive accusations that the White House had used bogus intelligence to justify the war. Witnesses and evidence showed Cheney orchestrating a point-by-point response to Wilson's claims -- some of it misleading -- that the administration gave to hand-picked reporters.